I have an interesting question for you. How is the wedding industry currently helping the world? My friend, Danielle, founder of Black Sheep Bride is creating a movement of motivating engaged couples and wedding vendors to be more sustainable and to give back/help others. I loved interviewing Danielle for today’s Vendors You Should Know blog because she is truly passionate about creating a socially conscious mindset in the wedding industry. I met Danielle at the first Tampa Rising Tide meetup last year and I was so impressed by her. I could have talked to her all night. It made me think of my own wedding day when David and I decided to honor our guests by donating to The Orlando Sentinel Family Fund to support low-income families. We wrapped cookies stating our donation and put them in a basket at the door for the guests to grab as they left (and this was before Pinterest, that’s why it was such a boring label. Ha!). Danielle’s niche in the wedding industry is a little different and not so typical but it MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. Please keep reading to learn how we can help create more sustainable weddings and help the world while we’re at it.
Our “favors” served as a representation of our donation to a local charity in honor of our guests. ^ That’s us! May 13, 2011
If you had 1 minute to tell a new friend about your business, what would you say?
Black Sheep Bride is an online wedding platform for socially conscious engaged couples to connect with vendors, products and causes that give back to the greater good. We are disruptive, unusual and unique in our wedding niche. We pride ourselves on standing out in the wedding industry by changing perspectives on traditional wedding planning and encouraging people to be socially conscious consumers, even with their wedding purchasing process.
What led you to start Black Sheep Bride?
The Black Sheep Bride concept was actually conceived out of personal frustration. I am a wedding photographer by trade, but my heart and soul have always been driven by humanitarianism. When I was 19, I worked in South Africa for 3 months. It changed my life and set the path before me into adulthood and business development. Then a few years ago, I connected with the non-profit Dando Amor, which was founded by another popular portrait photographer turned do-gooder, Travis Gugleman. I went with them to Burkina Faso, West Africa to help serve in orphanages and feed refugees on the border of war-torn Mali. I came home broken hearted and unsure of the fate of the children I had grown to love so quickly. Then, I went to photograph a wedding a week later. There were stations of excess food and lavish unnecessary stuff everywhere. As the caterers began throwing away the piles of leftover food, I couldn’t help but think about the poor children I was just feeding the week prior and realized something needed to change within the wedding industry. We needed depth and purpose and significance far greater than a good party for two people in love… and that is when I decided to STAND OUT and SHAKE THINGS UP, aka Black Sheep Bride was born.
What are some simple, easy ways that brides can do to be more sustainable at their wedding?
The biggest way to create a more sustainable day is to have a conscious effort to waste less. The easiest examples: Food, Flowers and Decor. Think about every purchase with these 3 things in mind:
1. Is it needed? If so, can it be bought secondhand or borrowed?
2. Is it reusable after the wedding?
3. Can it be donated post-event?
There is always uncertainty at the end of each wedding as to what to do with all the leftovers. We should all pre-plan ways to donate these things to people in need. Random Acts of Flowers, Regional Food Waste services, and local nursing homes, schools, hospitals, half way houses could all find use for extra decor/craft options.
Left: Myself and Danielle when we first met. I asked her for a picture because I knew I would blog about her one day! 🙂
What are some of the most unique ways you’ve seen couples give back through their wedding?
Hands down, one of my favorite weddings ever featured, a JAX couple who invited the homeless to their wedding and fed them as their honorary guests. The wedding encompassed everything LOVE is truly about to me… throw the wedding away and what stands at the end of the day, it should be selfless, humble, hearts for others. Another fun couple that gave back at their wedding used blankets to warm their guests by the fire pit and then simply washed and donated those blankets to a local dog shelter.
Favorite hashtags to find eco-friendly inspiration?
#Eco #EcoBride #EcoWedding #EthicalFashion #SoEnt #ethicalliving #Dogood #EcoTourism #ecoliving
How can wedding vendors join the movement?
Consider ways your business can impact others. Maybe it is volunteering your time, services or products, or donating a small portion of your profits each month. The possibilities are endless. It simply requires a little bit of thought and accountability to your goal and commitment. If you are interesting in joining the Black Sheep Bride Network of Vendors, you can apply and we would love to have you. As with other wedding publications/networking communities, we have a small membership fee. However, the benefits of joining a group of like-minded, national vendors with hearts for helping others is priceless. Find out more information here.